Oh, to be a Mensch

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    I’ve been thinking this week about the idea of integrity and values. I had dinner recently with a man who is starting a new business. The man had successfully owned a previous company. He worked long hours to grow and then sell that company for a large profit. He’s basing the new company on a different set of values than before. This time around he wants the company’s central mission to be about helping his employees succeed so they can profit from their labor. He deliberately wants to start the new company as an employee stock-owned company.

    There are numerous non-market values that you can run your businesses by and still be successful as a business. Values such as harmony, balance, integrity, consideration for others, and honesty can all be brought into a successful business.

    What values do you bring to your business and work with others?

    Wikipedia offers this definition of Mensch:

    (Yiddish: מענטש mentsh; from German: Mensch, for “human being”) means “a person of integrity and honor”.[1] … mensch is “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being ‘a real mensch’ is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.”[2]

    How are you showing up at work? What is the best you strive to be at work?

    In his poem “If”, Rudyard Kipling wrote that :

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    ….. you can be a man – or in a more inclusive language – a Mensch- someone with heart and integrity.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.


    Linda is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant. Go to her website www.lindajferguson.com to read more about her work, view video clips of her talks, and find out more about her book “Path for Greatness: Spirituality at Work” The paperback version is available on Amazon. Note: the pdf version of Path for Greatness is available for download from her website. ALSO, Linda’s new book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand” is now available on her website.